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Normal Topic Aboriginal dog program NT (Read 2313 times)
ethos
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Aboriginal dog program NT
Sep 11th, 2012 at 9:07pm
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Something a bit different in the animal health department.
I spent 5 years in the NT and was lucky enough to get the chance to run some dog control programs in various aboriginal communities, outside my "normal" job in clinical vet practice
Without going in to too much detail here are some brief points:

Aboriginal communities are set up in various places around the NT mostly on aboriginal land with access restrictions, government funds housing etc. about a quarter of the population of the NT is aboriginal.

There are very few real jobs for residents in communities, some work for the dole type schemes, a lot of social problems as communities are set up by area and sometimes comprise families (tribes if you like) which have bad blood. (Port Keats being the classic example)
English is a second language, many cant read and write.
There are big problems with dogs - "camp dogs" are a traditional part of aboriginal life but with the broken social structure of the communties there are normally far too many dogs (20+ in some houses of 10 people) and problems like sacroptic and demodectic mange, fleas, transmissible venereal tumours hookworm, parvo, distemper, ticks, heartworm and pack aggression towards people. Hence the fact most communities run a dog program.

It is possible to fly or drive (during the dry season) to communities- some of remote arnhemland is incredibly beautiful, my longest communte to work was a community 800km from Darwin. Mostly I worked alone but sometimes could afford a nurse to help.

Heading off for another 5 day stint


Buggar! Its dry season, Im about 300km in and I get to the Blythe river crossing and its running way higher than it should be! Do I chance it or backtrack the other side of katherine and add 500km to the trip? Note the rubbish bag taped across the grill. It was pucker up and go for it, water to the door sill for 20 meters then ok. There are a lot of crocs in this river. (one fatality in the time we were there)
God bless the almighty landcruiser.


Another NT road hazard.

Id like to say there is always a nice airconditioned sterile building available -not normally! Also most locals wont bring animals for desexing this means operating wherever you can, sometimes literally off the back of the truck. Shade is important to prevent the untimely death of patients or veterinarian. Its almost invariably mid 30s and in the late dry season the humidity kills you - always carry a lot of bottled water (the local tap water is laible to poison you)




A typical program involves dosing dogs monthly for worms/ticks/heartworm and regular visits to desex as many dogs as possible, concentrating on bitches. Also euthanasing as many unwanted, diseased and problem dogs as possible. Some dogs have a "skin name' and cant be euthed, sometimes this is an easy excuse. tricky.
Dosing:



Camp dogs are part dingo, part indonesian wild dog and part whatever else has been put across them, they are mostly half wild and tend to get nasty when scared. There is a bit of an art to lasooing a dog and getting the first sedative injection on board before it can be brought over to the operating area and anaesthetised. A good local helper can save a lot of time.





The recovery ward:


Its dirty, hot, sweaty and unrewarding and I loved it! It made me almost as happy as this bloke who is having turtle for dinner:



Ive had some great hunting experiences with the locals and some amazing, disturbing, funny, sad experiences on community which I might put in to print sometime. I even got adopted.

  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #1 - Sep 11th, 2012 at 9:31pm
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Gday ethos,

Thanks for sharing that  Smiley
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #2 - Sep 11th, 2012 at 10:19pm
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An interesting and educational read there ethos. Sounds like you did well. Thanks for sharing.  Smiley
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #3 - Sep 12th, 2012 at 9:01am
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great read, cheers
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #4 - Sep 12th, 2012 at 11:05am
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I even got adopted.



Are you a Black Fella?
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #5 - Sep 12th, 2012 at 11:48am
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Ive got a skin name. Mind you so does the white landcruiser  Grin Grin
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #6 - Sep 12th, 2012 at 10:41pm
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bloody good
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #7 - Sep 14th, 2012 at 9:22am
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Ive got a skin name. Mind you so does the white landcruiser  Grin Grin


What is your skin name? Is it "Dances with Dingoes" ?
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #8 - Sep 14th, 2012 at 10:15am
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I cant pronounce I wrote it down somewhere.
The landcruiser got a name because it was our hunting vehicle, that way they could dance it at special occasions. The landcruiser is called wykarra.

Aboriginal family is incredibly complicated and I only understand some very basic stuff- my main hunting mate (Colin) adopted me but he had to do it as my father even though we are about the same age, meaning his kids are my brothers and sisters. There are some family members who cant associate and so on.
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #9 - Sep 14th, 2012 at 3:56pm
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Awesome adventure!
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #10 - Sep 15th, 2012 at 5:59am
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Great read Ethos, yea the NT is an amazing spot!
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #11 - Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:09pm
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Ethos, do dingos make good pets?
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #12 - Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:10pm
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Aunty wrote on Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:09pm:
Ethos, do dingos make good pets?


to add: I guess always contain a feral gene or three, but must have a great prey drive?
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #13 - Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:19pm
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Aunty wrote on Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:10pm:
to add: I guess always contain a feral gene or three, but must have a great prey drive?


Mate if your just after a new pig hunting dog get a Hyena Grin
Or for a damn good laugh watch the movie "Red Dog"
that cracked me up.
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #14 - Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:54pm
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Aunty wrote on Sep 16th, 2012 at 8:09pm:
Ethos, do dingos make good pets?


As a general rule no, lousy pets. you need a permit to keep them, a few people do anyway. Most dingoes close to darwin are mixed genetically with stray dogs but there a few which look the real deal - they DNA test for breeding programs with the pure ones.

They tend to be quite timid, are very cautious in new situations and they take notes - you dont tend to catch them out the same way twice.(eg good luck getting a muzzle on tomorrow if you tricked it today)
Very cunning dogs. A few of the pure bred ones I dealt with were as nice as any house dog but most were standoffish.
The aboriginal people used their dingo cross camp dogs as hunting companions, but pig hunters in the NT dont use them so I assume that means they are no good on pigs.
Bull arabs, catahoulas and bitsas are the go up there.

The local stray dingos/wild dogs around the outskirts of darwin are very good at dealing to domestics dogs working as a pack though. One dog does the hamstrings and the other/s go the throat.

Its become like the arms race - everyone has several big bad arse dogs to guard the missus' pomeranian.
Dog attacks are possibly the number one animal emergency where I was working.

Away out bush very likely to be pure bred: (in good nick because its after a category 5 cyclone - plenty of tucker to scavenge)


Pup bought in by a pig hunter, doesnt look pure but tested as 100% dingo. Very timid.

  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #15 - Sep 16th, 2012 at 9:29pm
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thanks, fascinating, real kelpy looking
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #16 - Sep 24th, 2012 at 9:04am
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Great read , Thanks for sharing  Cool
  

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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #17 - Sep 27th, 2012 at 7:10pm
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Thanks Ethos,best read Ive had on the forum for ages.
One part of Auss Im real keen to have a look at.
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #18 - Sep 28th, 2012 at 8:57pm
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Cheers Jim, yep the NT is a great place, great people too. Go if you can get the chance.
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #19 - Oct 15th, 2012 at 2:49pm
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Great read,

What do the locals generally think of the 'system'? Are they aspirational at all, but feel trapped in that world?
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #20 - Oct 15th, 2012 at 9:20pm
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Thanks Max, largely apathetic Id say. There have been so many initiatives rolled out, council restructures and mergers, they mainly roll their eyes at the latest changes as they arrive.

The basics of the problem - and they arent all of their own making this has developed over years where government threw money at them to keep them locked away on communities- are large numbers of welfare dependant people living in isolation with poor education and very low employment prospects.
Its very intractable.
My personal opinion is one of two things has to happen eventually:
1) close the communities and everyone has to move to other towns and cities and get what employment they can and prop up everyone else with welfare until over ? generations education lifts to levels generating good employment.
or
2)Government and or business has to develop real employment on each of the communities - eg croc farms, tourism/hunting/fishing, palm oil plantations? to give people a future where they are. No two communities are the same in what they have available. Any development would have to be very well overseen to prevent exploitation so proceeds can benefit locals as much as possible.
  
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #21 - Oct 15th, 2012 at 9:29pm
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Cheers....have been to North Queensland once around 20 years ago, and both the way they treated the locals, and more particularly their attitudes to them appalled me. Seems not much has changed.
  
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ethos
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Re: Aboriginal dog program NT
Reply #22 - Oct 15th, 2012 at 9:39pm
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The system certainly patronises the aboriginal people.
I have to say that a majority of territorians I know have a blend of hard cynicism and real empathy for NT aboriginal people, also zero tolerance for anyone of either skin colour not making a decent go of things - a pretty realistic attitude on the whole.
  
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